And the Rock Said, “No Hiding Place”

Seems that my adventures have caused a few–questions in our dojo.

Long ago, against the advice and teachings of my abbot, Syncletica, a Grandmaster of Wind, I chose the ancient and disused philosophy of the Mountain. In my first adventures, I came back bloodied and beaten from tasks of justice asked me, but survived.

Today, my abbot has requested a private session. She has asked me, an acolyte, to begin teaching on the Way of Stone. While it may be an honor, I am terrified. The terrors of Xoriat and Shavarath are on our doorstep, some say. Why in the name of the Host would any of my lessons be superior to that of our abbot’s plans (who has met with several generals who have dared to take on Stormreach).

Syncletica corrected me. “It is not that your technique is superior. No one monk stance is completely superior over others. However, were we all to fight as I fight, I fear our victories would begin to fade.”

She explained.

“When I was an acolyte myself, I felt drawn to stay in the Fire stance more, believing that my increases in Strength and ki generation would allow me to dominate. But the stance reduced my wisdom, preventing me from making more critical strikes to stun or disable enemies before they could even put up a fight.”

“Later, I chose the Way of Wind but learned to move between it and Fire stance. While in Wind stance, I’m physically weaker but much faster. Since I can strike far faster and more often, I can readily take down mobs very quickly.”

“I watched many good monks become more rigid than I once was. They mastered one stance and almost never left it. As a result, when it came to certain brutes, their lack of training in multiple techniques left them more likely to be resurrected than victorious.”

“But you have…you have rediscovered that the best offense may be a good defense. Tell me again about your adventures in the Vale of Twilight.”

So I did. While in the third level of Mountain Stance, I recalled how I was able to quickly overpower enemies, even those of which I had not yet learned how to bypass their stronger defenses–all through sheer brawn inherent in the stance. The result was obvious: I was not faster, but simply more powerful, able to dispatch stronger enemies faster, through massively critically strikes, than the multiple hits in Wind stance.

Syncletica began to change into a light outfit. “And that is what we need to learn, Lynncletica. While speed has its usefulness, the toughest enemies are just that: Tough. We need to ensure we don’t get, well, set in our ways. Each path is a gift, even I didn’t understand it at first when you began your training.”

“All of Xendrik will fall if any of us–archers and fighters, thieves and holy warriors–if any of us become too predictable, or even expect an adventure to always go by the book, based on other’s recollections. Who is “right” doesn’t matter. All monks in my tutelage must understand what you understand–and that training starts with me,” the abbot said as she began to wrap her hands in training cloth. “We begin. Tonight.”

It was…weird, last night, as a light breeze moved through the orange blossoms of the trees surrounding our home. I stood there, teaching my teacher the way of Stone.

The Sturdiness of a Mountain

Under the tutelage of the abbot, I adopted the name of Lynncletica. Rather than cloistering myself for enlightenment, I have chosen the Harmonious path, as many have in my monastery, and began seeking truth and justice throughout the realms of Stormreach and beyond.

Unlike the abbot, Syncletica, who is a Grandmaster in the Way of the Wind, I chose a different path: The path of the Sturdy Mountain.

The abbot seemed skeptical but she did allow me to train in this school.

I chose this path for I saw a time (as the abbot has recounted in many an adventure) where destiny may be denied, where justice cannot be served where evil seems too strong. I believed in this: An adventuring party is not successful through through superior weaponry alone, or superior numbers, or superior spells. The successful party survives through durability.

And for that, one must endure long enough to ensure that all others can return to fight and succeed.

I see a time where all in my party are weakened or have fallen and I alone must endure, attracting the enemy, dispatching them not necessarily through swiftness but by turning the enemies attacking energy back into them. In the Mountain Path, the ability to hit an enemy critically greatly increases, especially using the Fists of Iron and mastery of the Void Strike. I seek items that improve my seeking mastery when striking here.

Further, should I be struck by an enemy, my ki only gets stronger. I can then use that ki to heal myself while further damaging my enemy. The only challenge involves healing faster than my opponents can deal damage. Again, the Way of Earth reduces the amount of damage I must endure, improving as I master it’s way.

I spoke with a neighboring acolyte at a dojo. They confirm my information. Aside from significant damage, they tell of acolytes and grandmasters who hit enemies so hard that they are phased out of existence, or hurt so badly that a lighter strike will finish them.

I am confident in my path. While I may never be as steadfast as a dwarf fighter, or as intimidating as a barbarian, as even as pious as a paladin, I am sure that I will become the Angry Mountain, whose shaking against those who push against it will yield only avalanches and large stones to crush and smite all that challenge it. The mountain shall endure.